For example, from yesterday's columns...
And from Dan Froomkin:
William Douglas of Knight Ridder Newspapers today maintains his bureau's tradition of consistently pushing back on mischaracterizations in White House speeches, rather than just repeating them.
"Cheney laid out the administration's defense of the war again -- and again conflated the war with the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, even though investigative commissions have concluded that there was no connection between them and Saddam Hussein," Douglas writes.
Cheney, of course, is by any standard an unusually powerful vice president. And John Dickerson writes in Slate that he's also been unusually free to pursue his personal ideological agenda because he's not running for president.
"In a traditional political marriage, the vice president would be too nervous about his political future to give such a full-throated endorsement of unpopular policies and kiss-offs to politicians in both parties. . . . GOP politicians would also be quietly telling him to distance himself from Bush. . . .
"Dick Cheney doesn't have to worry about any of that."
The downside? "Cheney has been so extreme in various ways, usually at his president's behest, that he has marginalized himself from being able to reach out to nonbelievers in a useful way. In the end, Dick Cheney's lack of political ambition may have been no better for the administration than if he had spent the past five years trying to position himself to run against Hillary Clinton."
Karen E. Crummy writes in the Denver Post: "The White House has violated the First Amendment by repeatedly excluding Americans from public, presidential 'town halls' when their views differ from those held by President Bush, according to a federal lawsuit filed in Colorado today by the American Civil Liberties Union.
And a link to a great read by Dana Milbank, always worth reading.
Next, from Howard Kurtz:
Roger Simon notes that McClellan had attacked Murtha as a Michael Moore tight who would surrender to the terrorists:
"Surrender to the terrorists! That ought to smear him good! (Remember how easy it was to smear John Kerry with the Swift Boat veterans' attacks?)
"But the mood is different now. The war is far more unpopular than the White House recognizes. And Murtha does not strike anybody as a coward or friend of terrorism.
Plus a guide to the reality on the ground in Iraq.
Michael Crowley spots some disturbing stats:
"A new Pew Institute poll helpfully reminds us not to take U.S. public opinion about foreign affairs too seriously. When asked whether certain countries possessed nuclear weapons, nearly a third said that Libya does. More people - 55 percent - believe Iran has nuclear weapons than think Great Britain (52 percent) or France (38 percent) does. Only 48 percent got Israel right. And just over one-fifth didn't know or weren't sure about Russia - Russia! Which has some 20,000 nukes. Yeesh.
"On a slightly more pertinent note, the poll found that the savvier Americans are about global affairs (based on their knowledge of key world figures and events), the less likely they are to support a quick withdrawal of U.S. troops from Iraq. Sixty-six percent of the least knowledgeable folks - i.e., ones who couldn't even ID Vladimir Putin - support a fast withdrawal. Only 48 percent of the best-informed ones took that position. Perhaps that offers some small consolation to the currently besieged stay-the-course crowd."